Networking sites play host to pimps

Pimps have become so bold that they openly solicit clients on the internet

Over the years, prostitution rackets have become more organised and expanded into newer forms of trafficking – through social networking and free advertisement websites.

The pimps are exploring and exploiting these sites to get customers and to lure vulnerable women without coming under the police radar. Be it Facebook, Quickr, Craigslist, OXL, Fropper, Passion or Google, people running prostitution rackets are using the websites to stay connected with potential customers.

They post ads on them with their phone numbers purchased on fake identity cards on a day-to-day basis. After a few days, the  mobile number on the website is changed. 

Customer call the pimp on these numbers, and are then asked to come to a specified location where the deal is fixed. And sometimes, one can get the call girls’ numbers directly from the site.

Not just mobile numbers, the websites often carry pictures of sex workers so that the customers pick whom they want – and call them directly without the hassle of meeting anyone else first. A few websites even mention the rates.

In some cases, the deals are made through chats or emails. Earlier, pimps used to advertise in leading newspapers in the guise of parlour, escort and massage services. “But now, they are using networking sites,” says a senior police officer.

There are no hard statistics on numbers of pimps using social networking sites. But the officer says whenever they get a complaint about them, they lay a trap and nab the culprits. The pimps use social networking sites also to lure teenage girls into flesh trade.

They befriend girls on networking sites and later  offer them big money for prostitution. Police are unable to track such recruitment, unless the victims approach them or they get a tip-off.

The pimps also lure young boys, asking them to trap vulnerable girls from small towns. Many girls trafficked from other states to GB Road and into other prostitution rackets, are brought to the capital by their so-called boyfriends who sell them off to pimps.

“Many minor girls rescued from GB Road stated that they were shown a rosy picture of Delhi with a promise of marriage by their boyfriends, and when brought to the city they were raped, tortured and sold to brothels,” says a police officer. Police find it difficult to spot these `boyfriend' pimps.

“We haven’t got any such complaint that a girl was lured through social networking sites for flesh trade,” says the officer, while adding that trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation through networking sites has become an area of concern. 

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